U.S. Highway 78 to get new pedestrian bridge over Yellow River

LAWRENCEVILLE - Even with sidewalks, walking along a bridge over U.S. Highway 78 seems like a dangerous prospect.

But people do it, Evermore Community Improvement Director Brett Harrell said.

The stroll is about to get easier, with the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Yellow River that should keep people who normally walk on the vehicle bridge from braving speeding drivers on the stretch.

"They cross inside the rail today, with cars whizzing by at 50 miles per hour," Harrell said. "I wouldn't think anybody would risk it, but sure enough, I see people crossing it two or three times a week."

Eventually, Harrell said, a project will allow for a connection under the bridge that will keep people from having to cross 78 if they need to get from one side of the road to the other.

For now, an engineering and consulting firm has been hired to design the pedestrian bridge, which will line up with planned sidewalks on the road. While sidewalks will be built for seven miles on both sides of the street, the pedestrian bridge will be constructed parallel to the existing vehicle bridge on the side of the street occupied by the Yellow River Game Ranch.

Harrell said the addition of sidewalks will make walking on the road easier for people who are already inclined to do so. At the bridge, the 10-foot-wide sidewalk will be wide enough for strollers or golf carts.

"We see evidence of foot traffic now," Harrell said. "Primarily, this is a safety project. It makes the necessary linkage between sidewalks."

The 200-foot bridge will cost $650,000, with $400,000 coming from federal funds, Harrell said. Construction should begin in late 2008 and the bridge should be open to pedestrian traffic in the middle of 2009.